Freshworks Survey Highlights COVID-19 SMB Digitalisation

William Smith

The research found small businesses are outpacing large companies in customer service improvement

Freshworks Survey Highlights COVID-19 SMB Digitalisation

Customer and employee engagement software provider Freshworks has revealed the results of a global survey into the effects of the pandemic on consumers. 

Freshworks provides a software as a service suite, with its flagship customer experience product being customer service platform Freshdesk (which the company was previously named after), as well as a chatbot offering named Freshchat and cloud phone system known as Freshcaller. 

The survey of 10,500 consumers was carried out in partnership with Dynata, and found that, with 41% having been inspired to support local businesses during the pandemic, 94% would continue to do so going forwards. 

Another finding was that consumers identified the customer service of small and local businesses as outpacing large companies by 50%, but that meeting customer expectations required digital, omnichannel approaches. 

Online ordering, delivery services and personalisation were hailed as the drivers of better customer service by 53%, 52% and 47% respectively, with improved websites (34%) and chatbots (33%) also being mentioned. 

“Main Street is poised for a breakout year as they lead the revitalized economy both in person and online,” said Girish Mathrubootham, chief executive officer and founder of Freshworks. “We believe providing world-class digital engagement is no longer a nice-to-have but rather a business imperative to continue to delight customers no matter how they consume goods and services.” 

COVID Customer Service Excuses Wearing Thin

However, 27% of those surveyed said they were sick of companies using COVID-19 as an excuse for poor service, with 54% saying they would feel that way one local restrictions are lifted. 

“Customers have been accommodating as companies navigated the challenges of the pandemic, but they are running out of patience–and have higher expectations than ever,” said Stacey Epstein, chief marketing officer of Freshworks. “Our research reveals that customers seek superior experiences from companies regardless of size and that local companies are gaining an edge with quicker, more personal service that has been supported by digital technology. In the post-pandemic economic boom, we believe companies that delight their customers across in-person and digital channels will seize the lead.” 

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